The Big Sting

A visit to Leo’s grandfather’s farm turns upside down when his grandmother’s beehives are stolen. 

Eleven-year-old Leo is an “armchair adventurer.” This, according to Dad, means he’d choose adventures in books or video games over real-life experiences. And while Leo hates the label, he can’t argue with it. Unlike his little sister Lizzie, Leo is not a risk-taker.

So when he, Lizzie, Mom and Dad leave the city to visit Grandpa on Heron Island, Leo finds all kinds of dangers to avoid — from the deep, dark ocean to an old barn on the verge of collapse. But nothing on the island is more fearsome than Grandpa himself — Leo has never met anyone so grumpy! According to Mom, Grandpa is still grieving the recent death of his wife, a beekeeper beloved by everyone on the island.

Despite Leo’s best efforts to avoid it, adventure finds him anyway when Grandma’s beehives go missing in the dead of night. Infuriated, Grandpa vows to track down the sticky-fingered thieves himself . . .  with risk-averse Leo and danger-loving Lizzie (plus a kitten named Mayhem) in tow.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. Finalist for the 2024 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Award, the 2025 MYRCA Sundog Award, the 2024 Diamond Willow Award, the Crime Writers of Canada Best Juvenile or YA Crime Book, and the 2024/25 Sunshine State Young Readers Award.

A story full of mystery, adventure, and personal challenges that will have readers buzzing.

Kirkus Reviews

This character-forward beekeeping mystery considers the limitations of labels and the authentic messiness of IRL adventures.

Publishers Weekly